I’ve done powerwashing in real life. My neighbor does it as a part-time hobby, my friend does it as part of his window washing business. In PowerWash Simulator, the game is basically as the title suggests – it tries to replicate the experience of powerwashing. And for the most part, it does it right – albeit for the part where you need to have a gas-powered machine in order to get any use out of your nozzle.

Apparently this game caught the attention of Square Enix. Enough to the point where they became a publisher. But apparently not enough interest was shown to get rid of the “Made with Unity” splash screen that shows up when you first boot the game. Although, I will say there are some Tomb Raider- and Final Fantasy VII-themed locales for you to clean, which is pretty neat.

The game plays in first-person. You start off with a basic washer and clean up your own dirt-filled van. From here, the game teaches you that you’re going to have to clean every nook and cranny in order to mark a specific car part as “clean,” from the tires, the hubcubs, the fender, the windshield, the doors, the door windows, to even the door handle. You’re going to be getting on your hands and knees, trying to clean the underbelly of the tires and the van itself.

Washing a burger truck down

From there, you earn money and move on to different jobs, from a giant boot, to a vintage vehicle, to an entire house. Earn enough money and you can purchase additional equipment, from new washers, to new nozzles, to cleaning liquids of specific types, to the color of your gloves. It makes it satisfying as you clean job to job, because there’s always something new to upgrade that will make your next job a little easier. There are ladders and step stools that you can place anywhere in the area, to help you get to the second floor of a building, or to climb to the top of a roof. Common ground stuff that’s normally associated with power washing.

Each washer comes with a 0 degree nozzle, a 15 degree nozzle, a 25 degree nozzle, and a 40 degree nozzle. The wider the nozzle, the more area the washer covers, at the expense of needing to get closer to the affected area and having to go over the same area a few times to make sure the dirt is fully off. A spinning 0 degree nozzle can be purchased at the shop, or a 65 degree one that’s designed for use with a cleaning liquid. The 65-degree nozzle is great for covering a wide area in a short amount of time, but you’ll need to have the right type of cleaning liquid, and these can drain pretty quickly. You’ll have to buy some more from the shop.

Nozzles can be swapped on the fly with the left and right bumpers, or you can use a wheel menu to choose a specific one. If you’re feeling finger fatigue from holding the right trigger down so long for spraying the water, you can actually press left on the D-pad and the washer will keep spraying on its own. Pressing right on the D-pad will highlight remaining areas of dirt, helping you to ensure that wall is fully cleaned up. You can also press up on the D-pad to enter a free aim mode where your character stands still, but you can aim your washer anywhere on the screen. So, you’ve definitely got the nine yards covered when it comes to cleaning options.

As you progress in the story, you’ll get these text messages from the customers you work with. Some of them are pretty funny. Others are more serious and suggest you should change your business name, since apparently you don’t use hot water. Either way, it’s a pretty good way to keep yourself entertained as you’re washing. No background music is accomodated with this game, so it’s perfect to listen to podcasts or the like as you’re cleaning.

The great thing is, you’re not strapped on time. You can take as long as you like with each job. There is a challenge mode where you can test how quickly you can clean a locale, or use as little water as possible, but otherwise, just sit back, relax, and take your time washing.

Steam Deck Compatibility

The game is marked as Verified. But be warned. The game does hover around 60 FPS in most cases, even with the TDP and GPU clock speed tuned down on high settings, but when you start washing specific areas, the framerate dips to as low as 30. I recommend keeping the TDP and GPU clock speed limit disabled, in order to avoid the hiccup that occurs when the washer is being sprayed.

Otherwise, it’s actually quite fun using the Deck’s gyro and moving it around, as if I were holding an actual hose.

De-Stress Your Life

At first, playing this game felt like a chore – it felt like I was just doing a job. The more I played it, however, the more…oddly satisfying it felt. It does give you a good feeling of satisfaction seeing a once obliterated house now sparkly clean. I haven’t tried but apparently you can get your friends in on the action too with online co-op. Nice. I even recall reading a Steam review where they mentioned the game “washed” their suicidal feelings away. Another one read “helps the bad thoughts go away.” A third, who put over 200 hours into the game, said “it’s a great way to de-stress after work, or listening to a podcast in the background as you clean various locales.”

So, if you’re looking for a game that will wash your depression or stress away, PowerWash Simulator is a great choice.

TL;DR

The good:

  • stress reliever seeing once dirty substances now clean
  • great for listening to podcasts while cleaning
  • customers have different personalities and will keep you entertained while you clean
  • plenty of washers, nozzles, and other equipment to unlock and purchase, to make your next job easier
  • take your time, there’s no rush

The not-so-good:

  • none so far!

Spongebob DLC

PowerWash Simulator is available on Steam for $25.

Review key provided by Keymailer.